March 22nd and 23rd flew by for the 800+ of us who gathered in Manchester, NH for the 92nd Annual New England Conference. Our 2013 Conference offered something for everyone. This year we kicked things off earlier, with New Camp Director Workshops and several educational sessions offered on Thursday evening. Favorite returning presenters like Dr. Chris Thurber and Scott Arizala were on hand with a brand new Saturday keynote address full of fascinating material and innovative ideas to share. You may have been one of the dedicated crafters who has been following our own Jen Hargrave the last several conferences. Perhaps you got “Branded” with Matt Brand’s confluence of camping and social media. It’s likely that you dashed to sessions led by Jodi Rudick, Ethan Schafer, Steve Maguire, Gary Forster or Jennifer Stanchfield, choosing among an array of options that proved daunting at times. Discovering the hidden secrets of body language in Janine Driver’s keynote on Friday afternoon made us all think hard about the way we communicate with our campers, parents and colleagues, and our 2013 CampExpo displayed a smorgasbord of goods and services sure to make 2013 our best summer of camping yet.
In terms of entertainment, the 2013 Conference topped the charts! The ECP’s Viva Manch Vegas event Friday evening capped off an exciting day with a full agenda of fun and frivolity. Set to the tunes of our illustrious DJ Greg Jutkiewicz, participants played in a Blackjack tournament with ACA New England staff dealers, Human Bingo, mega Jenga, refreshments and prizes. On Saturday night, singer/songwriter Zoe Lewis rocked the Banquet crowd with her vaudeville inspired travel ballads, even getting Bette up on stage for a show stopping ending to the Conference!
Six State Meetings on Saturday morning and the Annual Meeting on Saturday night marked the transition of our board’s leadership, as well as honored several key volunteers, new board members and award recipients. This year, we presented longtime camp director (Alford Lake Camp), ACA New England board member and volunteer Jean McMullan with the Distinguished Service Award. Two tables of friends and family surprised her to watch her receive ACA New England’s highest honor.